Lasting Trauma Inflicted by Priest

By Stephen Buttry
Omaha World Herald (Nebraska)
April 14, 2002

Paul Margand was a priest for only two years, serving only one parish, St. Teresa in Lincoln. The fear and anger he sowed in molesting boys during that time endure to this day, some 15 years later.

Rob Butler still has difficulty speaking about his weekly abuse by Margand. He glances down and breathes heavily at times as he tells the story, rubbing and flexing his hands.

Though he couldn't tell his parents about the abuse at the time, he says he must speak now, to tell a victim's side of the scandal in the Roman Catholic Church.

Patrick Brakhage peppers his conversation with obscenities as he speaks about the priest whose abuse sent him to a psychiatric hospital for six months.

A third boy had the courage to tell his parents, police and a courtroom what Margand had done. His parents say church officials encouraged them not to report the crime, but they did. The two priests who met with the parents say they don't recall exactly what they said.

That boy, now a 26-year-old living in Texas, agreed to an interview only on condition that his name would not be published. "It's difficult to even talk about."

Because the boy was able to talk 15 years ago, Margand could not become one of the priests whose abuse has shaken the Catholic Church. Unlike John Geoghan and Paul Shanley in Massachusetts, and Daniel Herek and Thomas Sellentin in Nebraska, he could not be moved from parish to parish over a career that lasted decades.

Less than three years after he was ordained, Margand accepted a plea bargain and spent about three years in prison.

The recollections of his three known victims offer a glimpse into how the church responded to accusations of abuse. And their lasting trauma is a window to the burden that such priests have inflicted on countless children.


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